Optimizing a WordPress site for high traffic

WordPress Speed

If your website keeps going down due to high traffic, then you may want to read this article. Buying a VPS or Dedicated server for high traffic is not really the solution. I have written this article based on my research and experience. I will do my best to keep this article short and as simple as possible for you.

1. Add your domain on CloudFlare

CloudFlare

Adding your domain on CloudFlare will reduce overall server stress. With CloudFlare, your site’s static files like images, CSS and js files are cached and stored on CloudFlare CDN servers. Therefore, the number of requests to the hosting server is reduced. This will surely boost your website speed and performance.

2. Enable LiteSpeed Cache plugin

LiteSpeed Cache Plugin

As our servers run on LiteSpeed, enabling LiteSpeed cache plugin on your WordPress site will reduce your site’s CPU usage and increase page speed when you are receiving high traffic. Our LiteSpeed servers are specially designed and optimized for LiteSpeed Cache plugin. Therefore, it’s the only plugin that will allow you to hold high traffic.

I personally have tested 10,000 real-time traffic on one of my customer websites and our server was running smoothly without any delays or downtime. However, this doesn’t mean that you can hold up to 10K traffic. This was the only amount of traffic we had. I believe we could have held over 100,000 real-time without a problem since the CPU usage was 1% on our shared web hosting server.

If you are using WP Rocket, WP Super Cache or any other cache plugin, you may want to disable them as here are the Benchmarks:

LSCache

Running multiple Cache plugins at the same time will not work. Therefore, you must enable LiteSpeed cache only and disable others.

3. Disable Jetpack plugin or any Pageviews monitoring plugin

Jetpack

I know Jetpack is a very useful plugin and almost everyone uses it. However, this plugin can actually take your site down as high traffic kicks in. Since Jetpack monitors visitor traffic/page views, this stresses the server as MySQL database needs to update on every page view. Now if you get 1,000 clicks per second, your database is then updated 1,000 times in one second which therefore will cause your site to go offline.

Some themes come with a pageviews monitoring feature. You must disable this feature as it will cause your site to go offline when you get high traffic.

In short, all pageview monitoring plugins must be disabled. We recommend you only use Google Analytics to monitor traffic.

4. Disable Really Simple SSL plugin

Really Simple SSL

I’m sure many of you guys are using the Really Simple SSL plugin to enable SSL on your WordPress websites. However, this plugin appears to use too much CPU during high traffic hours. We had a few clients complaining that their websites have gone down. After disabling the Really Simple SSL plugin, their websites were back online without a problem.

At Sudoly, you don’t need any SSL plugin as free SSL is automatically enabled on all websites that are hosted on our servers. Although, you may need to wait 48 hours until the free SSL is enabled on your domain.

If your WordPress site has been hosted on our server for more than 48 hours, remove Really Simple SSL plugin and read this guide to enable SSL on WordPress.

5. Disable plugins that aren’t important

WordPress Plugins

Only enable those plugins which you really need! Some plugins can be buggy while some plugins just need a lot of server resources to run. Therefore, enable the most important plugins you need.

6. Use a light theme

WordPress Themes

Some themes are heavily coded with extra features that make your site look fancy with will use a lot of server RAM and CPU. As you get high traffic, your website will offline due to many features being run in the backend.

If you followed step 1, 2, 3 and 4 above, and your site still goes down then you may want to switch your theme.

I recommend “SociallyViral” theme since it’ very light and well coded for traffic. I personally use it on my high traffic websites. A free version of the theme is available here and the premium version can be found here.

If you are our customer, and your website still appears to go down than please submit a ticket here and I will personally get check your site and see what’s causing the problem.

I will update this article as soon as I find another famous plugin that is causing a site to crash during high traffic. I hope you found this article useful. Please let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂

CEO & Founder of Sudoly.

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